Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Exegetical Summary Series

Has anyone used these? I'd never heard of them until last night when Logos sent me their email about it. The write up suggests the following:
The 24-volume Exegetical Summaries Series asks important exegetical and interpretive questions—phrase-by-phrase—and summarizes and organizes the content from every major Bible commentary and dozens of lexicons. You can instantly identify exegetical challenges, discover a text’s interpretive history, and survey the scope of everything written about each verse and phrase.
“This series offers endless exegetical assistance . . . summarizing the major exegetical issues in interpretation. . . . It includes comprehensive analysis of the raw data of the text.”—Online reviewer
Since no single commentary provides all the answers needed for translation, exegesis, and interpretation, the Exegetical Summaries Series serves as a valuable supplement. This series has been developed by linguists and commentators affiliated with SIL International, and combines the best from the fields of linguistics and textual criticism with erudite biblical commentary.
The books in the Exegetical Summaries Series survey the scope of everything written about every phrase in nearly every book in the New Testament, along with two books in the Old Testament, giving you the tools you need to compare commentaries and lexicons and identify instances of both scholarly consensus and disagreement. Rather than replace the commentaries consulted, these books are meant to provide a comprehensive summary, thus making more sources of exegetical help available to preachers, scholars, and students of the Bible than they may have access to otherwise.

Fundamental Facts - Provenance of Philippians

Hawthorne helpfully notes key issues we must address when discussing the provenance of Philippians.

There are certain fundamental factors that must be considered before even a tentative conclusion as to place and date can be reached. Some of these include (1) the fact that Paul was in prison when he wrote (Phil 1:7, 13, 17); (2) the fact that Paul faced a trial that could end in his death (1:19-20, 2:17) or acquittal (1:25; 2:24); (3) the fact that from wherever it was that Paul wrote there was the praetorium (1:13), and there were “those who belonged to Caesar’s household” (4:22); (4) the fact that Timothy was with Paul (1:1; 2:19-23); (5) the fact that extensive evangelistic efforts were going on around Paul at the time he wrote to Philippians (1:14-17); (6) the fact that Paul soon planned to visit Philippi if he were acquitted (2:24), and (7) the fact that several trips were made back and forth between Philippi and the place from which Paul wrote Philippians – all within the time-span of his imprisonment: (a) news travelled to Philippi of Paul’s arrest, (b) the Philippians therefore sent Epaphroditus to Paul with a gift to aid him in his distress, (c) news of Epaphroditus’ illness was sent back to Philippi, (d) word that the Philippians were greatly concerned about Epaphroditus reached Paul (See 2:25-30) and (e) Paul hoped to send Timothy to the Philippians and get encouragement back from them through him before he himself set off for Philippi (2:19, 24).

Hawthorne, Philippians, pg. xxxvii

Overall, I'm beginning to favour a Roman provenance, against Hawthorne who unusually advocates a Caesarean origin (See Acts 23:23-26:32). While I think Rome is probable, we must admit a certain epistemic humility in our judgements as the evidence is ambiguous and incomplete.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

EDUCE Project

Michael Halcomb has a brilliant post on Virtually Unwrapping Ancient Scrolls. This is an exciting development that may yield some astonishing discoveries! Check it out!

Friday, May 22, 2009

Barth and the Trinity

So I had another day delving deep into theological mysteries to profound. Thanks to Khegan, my new found theological friend, I read Aaron Smith's paper "God’s self-specification: his being is his electing" SJT 62(1): 1–25 (2009) and George Husinger "Election and the Trinity: Twenty-Five Theses on The Theology of Karl Barth" Modern Theology 24:2 April 2008.
I ordered Engaging the Doctrine of God ed. Bruce L. Mccormack and will probably get Orthodox and Modern: Studies in the Theology of Karl Barth by Bruce L. McCormack. I have not adequately understood McCormack's position, and the only way to fairly evaluate his views is to read his material. Bruce McCormack was most engaging at the recent Trinitarian Theology After Barth conference, and he really made me think.
I found Paul Molnar's article, available online, The Trinity and the Freedom of God exceptionally helpful and next week will give occassion to reading his book: Divine Freedom and the Doctrine of the Immanent Trinity.
The questions that arise from this thinking and reflecting thus far, are as follows:
  1. What is the relationship between the immanent and economic trinity? Are they the same? Different? How? When? Where?
  2. Is God’s being is constituted by God’s act?
  3. Who is the logos asarkos? Is he exactly the same as Jesus of Nazareth?
  4. What specific metaphysical presuppositions determine the answers to these questions, and how?
  5. Withregards to Barth, how does his doctrine of election shape/determine his understanding of the trinity?
  6. The ultimate question, which all of this finally leads to is, Who is God?
  7. My last question: Who on earth can answer these questions?
All this to say, I've forsaken biblical studies this month...
But perhaps forsaking biblical studies in this discussion was my first mistake!

Friday, May 15, 2009

Trinitarian Theology After Barth

Well, that was the title of the conference I've just attended. What an excellent selection of speakers and papers, which has provoked much thought. Bruce McCormack, Paul Molnar, Murray Rae, Ivor Davidson, Hayden Nelson, Ben Myers and Ashley Moyse among others gave papers on aspects of Barth's thought in light of his Trinitarian doctrine.
As someone devoted to biblical studies, I was completely unaware of the debate between Molnar and McCormack on Barth's understanding of the trinity. The discussion is thick, and I had one of those "Eureka!" moments as I understood what the discussion amounted to. The short of it is that Barth does not have a second doctrine of the trinity (sorry Ben). I am also now thoroughly convinced that Bauckham was absolutely right to abandon ontic and functional categories in favour of a Christology of Divine Identity - See Jesus and the God of Israel for a further exploration.
Anyway, Paul Molnar will be teaching a post-grad seminar on Christology and the Trinity next week, and I've managed to sneak my way into that one, so that'll be interesting. It's good being a student again. This is the life I was meant to live...

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

The Provenance of Philippians

The three options for the provenance of Philippians are Rome, Caesarea, and Ephesus. The two most argued places of composition are Rome [See the commentaries by O'Brien; Fee; Bockmuehl and Hooker] and Ephesus [See the commentaries by J. H. Michael; Carolyn Osiek and Frank Thielman's, "Ephesus and the Literary Setting of Philippians"]. Traditionally, Rome is the preferred option, although there is an increase in interest in Ephesus. Interestingly, The Acts of Paul note Paul's incarceration at Ephesus:

Now they who drew up the travels of Paul have related that he did many other things, and among them this, which befell when he was at Ephesus. Hieronymus being governor, Paul used liberty of speech, and he (Hieronymus) said that he (Paul) was able to speak well, but that this was not the time for such words. But the people of the city, fiercely enraged, put Paul's feet into irons, and shut him up in the prison, till he should be exposed as a prey to the lions. But Eubula and Artemilla, wives of eminent men among the Ephesians, being his attached disciples, and visiting him by night, desired the grace of the divine washing. And by God's power, with angels to escort them and enlighten the gloom of night with the excess of the brightness that was in them, Paul, loosed from his iron fetters, went to the sea-shore and initiated them into holy baptism, and returning to his bonds without any of those in care of the prison perceiving it, was reserved as a prey for the lions.

[Translation by M. R. James]

Interestingly, Charles Cousar in his latest commentary on Philippians suggests this, and notes that "Ephesus [is] the least problematic option of the three options... Ephesus seems the better choice and the one I use in the commentary."
Resident blogger, Mike Bird appears to opt for an Ephesian setting as well. Mark Keown argues strongly against this in his monograph, Congregational Evangelism in Philippians. Since Mark will be my teacher next semester, we'll have plenty of opportunity to thrash this around.